- This is part of the Holyoke Heritage Trail so after visiting here get back onto the trail.
- Private GROUP TOUR (COSTS) is one hour long for this Veteran’s Park neighborhood walking tour. Also a one hour indoor presentation can be given.
- A free public tour comes up every year usually on the Saturday of Veteran’s Day weekend.
- A self-tour is available for anyone using the maps and text seen below. – LOCATION
- Booklets of this tour are HERE
Just below is my podcast on the Hampden Park (Veteran’s Park) tour:
Stop 1 – Veteran’s Park
On January 22 1962 Hampden Park was rededicated and renamed Veteran’s Park. (perhaps November 11th of that year.) The park has memorials to war dead from the Civil War, World War 2, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. It also has many beautiful buildings surrounding it. Hampden Park is on the National Register of Historic Places. For a tour of many Holyoke buildings and districts on the register go to this LINK.
The men from Holyoke that died during the Spanish American War are honored at Holyoke State Armory where there is a plaque. See the LINK to read about them.
The overall design of the park is nearly the same as the original. At times bushes were added and removed. Flowers were added in some years. (For example, in 1966.) In 1959 34 Junipers were planted. In 1882 sidewalks and curbs were added to the perimeter of the park and around the statue. There was a cistern at the southwest corner of the park at the corner of Chestnut and Dwight.
Stop 2 – Civil War Memorial
|statue in Veterans’ Park||Columbia|
The Civil War Memorial honors those that died in that war that lived in Holyoke. Officially, it is called the Soldiers Monument of Hampden Square. Thomas Holman the second one down on the eastern side and James Burr the 5th one down are the only ones buried in Holyoke. The rest are buried at the war sites.
Names of the Civil War deaths of Holyoke with death dates and locations.
This statue was made by Henry Jackson Ellicott in 1876. It was dedicated on July 4th of that year. It symbolizes Columbia in the traditional classical attire but with the implements of Nike the Greek Goddess of Victory. Columbia holds her shield at her side and her laurel wreath only half high. She also faces to the south. These characteristics imply that the defeat of the South was hard fought and tiring. But she wants the South to rejoin the North and will not gloat over a victory. Her garments and her star-rimmed cap are those of Columbia – the symbol of America. Columbia here has a belt bucket with US printed on it. Liberty never had these symbols. Columbia was the female symbol of America from the 1730s to the early 1920s. Thus this statue is Columbia with Nike symbols and not Lady Liberty.
This statue was restored in 2022. LINK to news – LINK to repairs report. In 1959 and in 1962 chemical cleaning of the copper was attempted.
Stop 3 – Medal of Honor
John MacKenzie, Raymond Beaudoin, and Joseph Muller are the three Medal of Honor men from Holyoke.
Raymond Beaudoin is buried in South Hadley at the Notre Dame Cemetery. (FINDAGRAVE)
Joseph Muller is buried in Honolulu Hawaii at the Cemetery of the Pacific. (FINDAGRAVE)
John MacKenzie is the only one buried in Holyoke since he is at the Forestdale Cemetery. (FINDAGRAVE)
Stop 4 – Fire Station
The Holyoke Fire Central Station (206 Maple Street) was at that location for many decades. It is the second of three central fire station in Holyoke. As the force became motorized it needed a better station and hence this one was made. There are three phases of the fire fighting department in Holyoke. The first wave was that equipment was stored in sheds and the force was small. The second wave was stations around the city including this one and the Emerald Fire Station on Chestnut Street. The third wave is the modern one.
History of Firefighting in Holyoke
For an extended tour walk to High Street to see some of its wonderful buildings. Use this LINK.
To the immediate south of the fire station is the George Perry home. This would in time become the home of the Alden Press.
Stop 5 – Saint Jerome’s Society
The Saint Jerome Total Abstinence, Mutual, Benevolent, and Literary Society was near this corner. (236 Maple Street) It still stands but with facade greatly changed. It was a society for men from the Saint Jerome Church.
Also at this corner was the James O’Connor medical homes. He had constructed home for the ill that he was taking care of. SANBORN There now is the Holyoke Medical Center downtown campus. This is the former McAuslan-Waklin Store.
Stop 6 – World War 2 Memorial
This memorial honors the 212 men that died in WW2 that lived in Holyoke. Ignatius Maternowski was a chaplain from Holyoke that died on D-Day. He was buried on the beaches of Normandy but three years later was reinterred in South Hadley at the Mater Dolorosa Cemetery. Across Dwight Street from this memorial was the Roswell Crafts house. It was a beautiful and unique home.
In a nearby tree, an electric outlet was added by the city in 1948 so that a radio could broadcast World Series games to older men who used the park.
The Phoenix is across the street from this WW2 memorial.
Stop 7 – Holyoke Post Office
The Holyoke Post Office (650 Dwight Street) has been here since 1936. It was made as a WPA project. This is the 6th location of the central post office of Holyoke. The first was at Craft Tavern, the 2nd at the railroad station, the 3rd and the 4th at the Hotel Hamilton, and 5th at a building behind that hotel. Before the post office was put here, the Park Hotel was here.
Sanborn map analysis:
Stop 8 – Immaculate Conception of Notre Dame School
The Notre Dame School (95 Chestnut Street) was started in 1868 along Hampden Street. A new structure was built along Chestnut Street in 1886. This served as a girls school and then a coed school. In 1910 it was renamed St Jerome School. It in 1963 it became Holyoke Catholic High School.
Stop 9 – Saint Jerome Church
The Saint Jerome Church (215 Hampden Street) was started in 1858. It burnt to the ground in 1934 and was rebuilt.
stop 10 – Convent of the Sisters of Saint Joseph
See much more at this LINK since the block around the campus is a separate tour.